pro·gres·sive / prəˈgresiv/ • adj. 1. happening or developing gradually or in stages; proceeding step by step: a progressive decline in popularity. ∎ (of a disease or ailment) increasing in severity or extent: progressive liver failure. ∎ (of taxation or a tax) increasing as a proportion of the sum taxed as that sum increases: steeply progressive income taxes. ∎ (of a card game or dance) involving a series of sections for which participants successively change place or relative position. ∎ archaic engaging in or constituting forward motion.2. (of a group, person, or idea) favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas: a relatively progressive governor. ∎ favoring or promoting change or innovation: a progressive art school. ∎ relating to or denoting a style of rock music popular esp. in the 1980s and characterized by classical influences, the use of keyboard instruments, and lengthy compositions.3. Gram. denoting an aspect or tense of a verb that expresses an action in progress, e.g., am writing, was writing. Also called continuous.• n. 1. a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.2. Gram. a progressive tense or aspect: the present progressive.3. (also progressive proof) (usu. progressives) Printing each of a set of proofs of color work, showing all the colors separately and the cumulative effect of overprinting them.DERIVATIVES: pro·gres·sive·ly adv.pro·gres·sive·ness n.pro·gres·siv·ism / -ˈgresəˌvizəm/ n.pro·gres·siv·ist / -ˈgresəvist/ n. & adj.